Surrogacy could be one of the biggest boon for the mankind. Scientific advances in reproductive medicine had reached a peak when a woman who cannot carry a child, could still have a genetic child of her own. An unimaginable scientific improvement, coupled with a positive law, changed the lives of millions of couples and single parents. International surrogacy become popular with childless couple taking up borderless journies for realizing their parenthood dreams. As alwasy, the biggest boon for the mankind can of course be turned into a most cruel weapon.
Overseas surrogacy has always been a subject of the controversy for serveral reasons including possible exploitation of surrogate mothers, surrogacy being turned into a factory in developing countries, lower medical costs, difficulty in returning back to home nation, legal compexities, conservative religious views etc. However, surrogacy is now found repeatedly in the news for the most hateful reasons.
The recent new reports about the surrogacy scandal in Thailand is truly shocking and disgusting. As a professional involved in fertility law for almost a decade, I find it truly distressful that surrogacy arrangements could be exploited to this extent. We have had other similar situations earlier. I distinctly remember of the case of Theresa Erickson, the US attorney, who had been charged of a baby selling racket. I remember the case of an Australian gay Couple who had taken surrogacy in Russia, in actuality were phidophilles and had sexually exploited their own son. Few more cases linger in my mind, but the Thailand case is much more than expected.
Thailand as Surrogacy Destination
Thailand emerged as a popular option for surrogacy after India avoided commercial surrogacy for single parents. Indian Visa rules required that the commissioning parents must be a man and a woman married for a period of atleast two years to be granted visa for taking up surrogacy arrangement. A lot of couples turned to Thailand, which was still unregulated and where anything was done. There was never a whisper about the legality about surrogacy arrangements in Thailand. In fact, the turn into this new direction was prompted by several international surrogacy agencies who claimed Thailand to be perfectly safe and legal. But, it turned out to be otherwise. News now emerge that commercial surrogacy is illegal in Thailand. Commissioning parents who have taken up surrogacy arrangements are required to get a court order before they get to move out of Thailand.
Baby Gammy is left behind in Thailand by her parents
First, the issue started with a surrogate mother in Thailand claiming that an Australian Couple decided not to take one child of twins borns to her through surrogacy to Australia. Reportedly the reason provided by the surrogate was that the child was affected by down-syndrome and the commissioning couple were not interested in taking care of such a child. All defence for the couple stating that the child did not have down-syndrome turned out to be false. This started the uproar on social media as well as on main stream media. The Australian Authorities started to probe the issue.
Authorities in Thailand started probing the role of the surrogate mother. Though widely rampant and openly advetised and available, Commercial surrogacy arrangements were not recognized in Thailand. The surrogate mother was questioned by the police these circumstances.
Even worse, the Australian Father who had the children through surrogacy in Thailand had criminal records of child sex abuse. This update shook the world. A wonderful boon of surrogacy was in the hands of a man with history of being a child predator.
But thats not all. Investigation in Thailand revealed more.
Thirteen Babies through Surrogacy for One Father
After the crackdown of the Australian surrogacy case, the authorities started inspecting all surrogate homes, where the surrogate mothers were accomodated during the surrogacy arrangement during the period of gestation. Since commercial surrogacy was illegal in Thailand, a lot of such surrogate homes were raided. One such raid revealed a shocking fact. A single Japanese man had fathered 13 children through surrogacy. He was genetically related to each of them. At the raid, it is reported that few surrogate mothers were still pregnant with his children. The Japanese man, Mitsoetoke Sekata wanted to have more than 100 children throguh surrogacy reports Japanese Media. He had somehow come to the conclusion that the best he could contribute to the world is by having more children. The Japanese man is also under investigation. Meanwhile, the doctor, Pisit Tantiwattanakul, who had assisted the japanese man is also under scanner and has been arrested by the Military Police in Thailand.
I am to comment on these on my next post. I would like to quote infamous US surrogacy attorney Theresa Erickson at the time of being arrested: “I am tip of the ice-berg.” I am not sure what rude shocks lies for the future.